On February 3rd I had my second baby girl. During the pregnancy my husband decided to start competing in obstacle races (such as Spartan). I’ve never been too athletic nor physically strong, so doing that didn’t even cross my mind. Until one day my husband, Danny, right after finishing one of his races challenged me to sign up for the next one.
Full Name: Nathalie Kleiner
My first reaction was to think “I’m too weak for this.” But then, I thought of Michelle Poler’s fear project. This was my opportunity to say YES to something completely out of my comfort zone and try to prove my husband, and more importantly myself, that I could do this.
As soon as the doctor told me that I could start exercising again — 3 weeks after my C-section — I started training and signed up for a race. I started slowly, doing power yoga, vibration training, a little bit of running and a beach boot camp — that was already A LOT for me.
About a month later, Coach Casey opened the first obstacle gym in the area. We went for my first official training the day it opened.
When I saw all the obstacles I said to myself “How am I going to do this?”
My biggest concern was my fear of heights. I started climbing the net wall and when I arrived to the top I froze. I stayed there for at least 10 minutes (which felt like an hour). I was hyperventilating, sweating, shaking and feeling stupid. The rest of the guys were cheering for me. But it wasn’t until my husband told me “trust in yourself” that I understood that the problem was not the fear of heights,
it was the lack of confidence I had in myself.
I kept thinking I was very clumsy, weak and inexperienced. Danny had to climb up to help me move and make my way down the net wall.
That day I realized I was only scared of myself, and this race was merely an opportunity to start believing in me. So I kept training physically and mentally. I trained for 6 months!
I’m not gonna lie, there were times during the training where I felt anxious, goofy and even disappointed. But knowing that I was getting stronger and better than myself the day before helped me build my confidence and get ready for the big day.
The night before the race I had a hard time sleeping. I wanted to get it over with already.
The day came and I got up early and super energetic. I was so excited!
Then, the race started and reality hit fast. I felt challenged in every way. As one of the initial obstacles we had to jump into iced water, completely submerging into freezing temperatures. It was crazy, but I guess it helped me clear my mind and just focus on one obstacle at a time.
Every time I conquered an obstacle I felt relieved and accomplished.
When I crossed the finish line I felt like I was on top of the world.
Committing to so much hard work for so long to then accomplish the objective gave me the mental strength I needed.
This experience really marked a turning point in my life. It changed my perception on fear and gave me the self confidence to go after more challenges.
I don’t want to miss on more opportunities or experiences because of fear. I want to enjoy life!
I’m glad Danny challenged me to do this. He is my biggest inspiration. He went from being an overweight person to becoming fit and a top competitor. Self-motivated, he changed his eating habits and trained every day of his life. I’m now looking forward to joining him on this journey as a couple.
Any advice for others who are afraid of this?
Look for a support system. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my husband, my family, my coaches. For some people these races feel like a walk in the park, for me it was really challenging. So don’t compare yourself to others, only compete with yourself and do the best YOU can every single day!